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SA’s Vox Telecom receives first transmission from Yahsat’s Y1-B

Vox Telecom received the transmission from Y1-B, South Africa's first Ka-band satellite, towards the imminent launch of the YahClick service by August 1 2012.
Douglas Reed, CEO, Vox Telecom

Vox Telecom has announced that they have received the first transmission from Y1-B, South Africa’s first Ka-band satellite, starting the countdown towards realising their plan of bringing, according to the company, an affordable, high-speed satellite broadband service to both rural and urban areas by 1 August 2012.

We opened the Gauteng spot beam for testing on Monday and received an extremely strong signal, with the remaining spot beams around South Africa coming online soon

Vox Telecom launched the service in conjunction with Abu Dhabi-based company Yahsat under the brand name YahClick last month. Y1-B is the first satellite of its kind in Africa. Ka-band satellites transmit many highly focused, overlapping spot beams, each covering a relatively small area, which allows for access to greater bandwidth at a lower cost.

“We opened the Gauteng spot beam for testing on Monday and received an extremely strong signal, with the remaining spot beams around South Africa coming online soon,” Jacques Visser, Vox’s YahClick project manager said. “Our focus at the moment revolves around testing the platform in the field and to ensure that our technical staff and resellers are fully trained and ready to start installing the product when we officially launch the product on 1 August.”

Although the service is expected to provide reliable backup for urban broadband users who may occasionally lose transmission due to cable theft or loss of signal, Vox Telecom’s first objective is to provide much-needed high-speed bandwidth to rural businesses and communities.

Vox Telecom CEO, Douglas Reed said that affordable broadband satellite services can significantly boost businesses in rural areas, and that this will become a reality with new Ka-band satellites.

“There is little ADSL or 3G access in rural areas,” said Reed. “Farms and lodges for example have absolutely no communications or are battling along using dialup or EDGE services which are next to useless, and their businesses are suffering as a result.”

“66% of our customers live in isolated areas, which led us to believe that there is a significant, untapped market for more affordable and diverse internet services in rural communities,” Visser added.

Vox has previously announced that the YahClick service will comprise of a range of packages, starting with a basic plan priced at under R200 per month, to more comprehensive business packages that allow for faster downloads and greater data usage.

“We want this service to be as accessible as possible in terms of availability and affordability,” Visser said. “We’ve already put hundreds of installation service providers in place around the country, to meet the needs of the customers who will be applying for the service. This will not only allow for speedy installations, but will give outlying customers access to localised after-sales care and support. This is a major milestone for South Africa and we’re looking forward to changing the local broadband landscape.”